Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bangladesh turns back Rohingya at border

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 11:58 Mizzima News

Bangladesh said on Tuesday it has tighten border security to prevent fleeing Rohingya Muslims from crossing the border to escape sectarian unrest that has spread through Burma’s Rakhine State.

Bangladeshi Border Guard personnel keep watch at a wharf in Taknaf on Tuesday, June 12, 2012, following the religious violence in neighbouring Burma. Bangladeshi border guards have been turning back boats transporting Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Burma, officials said, as the U.N. refugee agency called for the border to be opened. Photo: AFP

“The local administration and the law enforcement agencies on the border area have been advised to remain alert and increase vigilance,” the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Widespread violence erupted last week after a Buddhist women was raped and murdered in Taungup in Rakhine State, setting off revenge murders and the burning of hundreds of homes and businesses, especially in Maungtaw Township close to the Bangladesh border.

In the face of the deadly clashes between Muslims and Buddhists, the Burmese government on Sunday declared a state of emergency in Rakhine State and has halted cross border trade since Friday.

In a bid to prevent a possible influx of Rohingya Muslims – who are denied citizenship in Burma and are stateless people – Bangladesh has turned back fleeing Rohingya. The coast guard on Monday reportedly pushed back 11 boats carrying around 500 people as they tried to enter Bangladesh.

According to local media reports, the boats carried Muslim Rohingya families of women and children with very little food and water.

Some 30,000 registered Rohingyas in Bangladesh live in two refugee camps run by the Bangladeshi government and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, said Bangladesh officials.

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